A-Z interventions and conditions

Sweet solutions: procedural pain in infants (up to 12 months of age)

A-Z interventions and conditions
        1. Sweet solutions: procedural pain in infants (up to 12 months of age)


Oral sucrose or glucose solutions – directly onto the tongue.


Sweet solution given directly to the tongue causes an orally mediated increase in endogenous opioids.

One of the common causes of procedural pain in infants up to 12 months of age is immunisations.

Other painful procedures in infants include blood tests, suture removal, dressings and adhesive tape removal.


Infants with known fructose or sucrose intolerance.


Sweet solutions are not suitable for lengthy or significantly painful procedures as sucrose and glucose have mild analgesic effects. They are only suitable for decreasing short-term pain during minor procedures.

Note that infants of mothers taking methadone during pregnancy may have altered endogenous opioid systems. Sweet solutions may have no analgesic effect for the first days to weeks of life.


A pharmacist may be able to supply a ready mixed bottled product, which can be stored in the fridge.

Pre-packed products are available:


  1. Harrison D, Stevens B, Bueno M, Yamada J, Adams-Webber T, Beyene J, et al. Efficacy of sweet solutions for analgesia in infants between 1 and 12 months of age: a systematic review. Archives of Disease in Childhood.2010; 95(6):406–13.
  2. Stevens B, Yamada J, Lee GY, Ohlsson A. Sucrose for analgesia in newborn infants undergoing painful procedures. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2013;1:CD001069
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